We Love Oregon!

Trip Start Mar 28, 2013
Trip End Jul 31, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Friday, June 28, 2013

We packed up in the rain again and after enjoying some homemade apricot cake and coffee in the hospitality room we threw the awning in the trailer and hit the road! We didn't get off to a great start and took a wrong turn not too far from the campground. It didn't take us long to realize this was not the road we were suppose to be on. There was absolutely nothing around and it seemed to be getting more narrow the further into the woods we went. It was impossible for us to turn around and we hadn't seen a side road for a few miles. We had no choice but to back up. Aimee got out in the rain to help direct Bruce and we finally came to a driveway where we could turn around. We've done really well not getting lost most of the trip but it was bound to happen at some point!

We drove across the Thomas Creek Bridge, 345 ft, the highest bridge in Oregon and through the Rogue Siske National Forest. We arrived at Sunset Bay State Park and were really pleased with the campground. Each site had their own little side yard with lots of privacy. They had an interpretive center, a basketball court, and a cool tunnel to take you under the road to the beach.

We went for a bike ride around the campground then rode to the beach. There was a beautiful bay and the kids had fun playing in the waves. We saw the spot where the first hot air ballon to travel across the U.S.A. left from. 
We went to Charleston and Coos Bay, the small towns closest to the state park, and got groceries and looked around the marina. We had a great dinner at a seafood restaurant and Bruce had yet another bowl of clam chowder, one of his favourites.
The next morning we did a guided tour of the tide pools. We had certainly explored the ocean floor when the tide was out but having the Park Ranger there to point out things and teach us about them was so amazing! We saw anemones which the kids, especially Clare, loved to touch and watch them curl inwards to protect themselves. Some were a clear colour and others were purple or a bright green. The Ranger encouraged everyone to walk around and lift up the seaweed, move the rocks, and see what you could find but just walk carefully and put things back where you found them. This was a kids dream come true! We saw critons, hermit crabs, and star fish that were yellow, orange, purple, and a bright red one. There was some students from the Institute of Marine Biology that were collecting samples and they showed the kids all the different types of fish, crabs, and a small eel that they had caught. They gave the boys some nets and helped them catch some small fish. Their enthusiasm was catching and the boys couldn't believe exploring the tide pools could be a job someday! The rest of our group and the students cleared out but we felt like there was still so much to see. We told the Park Ranger we were fine on our own if she needed to be somewhere else but she said she was in no rush and that is why she loves her job so much! We explored a while longer with her as she shared more interesting facts about the tide pools. We also saw a dead sea lion on the shore that smelt and looked like it had been there a while. We were so thrilled we were able to participate in this amazing activity!
It was Cohen's turn to have a game of golf on his own with Bruce. They dropped the rest of us and our bikes off at the Shore Acres State Park Botanical Gardens which was just a few miles from where we were staying. They played at Sunset Bay Golf Course and had a great game. Cohen did better driving the cart this time and they saw a pure white horse walking on the course! 
 We had a nice time walking through the botanical gardens, then went to the observation building where there was information about Grey Whales that live in the area. We looked for them for a bit but didn't see any. We rode our bikes back to the campground then headed to the beach where Bruce and Cohen joined us after golf.
There was a Jr. Park Ranger program at the interpretive center where the boys played games, did a craft, and learned about trees and local animals. The center was really cool with learning activities, beach samples, microscopes, examples of animals from the tide pools, a whale's baleen, and so much more! We dropped them off for an hour and went for a bike ride.
That evening Aimee and Caleb rode their bikes to a presentation at the amphitheater about Mountain Lions. It was really interesting and they had a real Mountain Lion that was stuffed.  You could feel it and look closely at its sharp claws. This state park had so many great programs we couldn't believe it!  We had a chance to fly the kite at the beach and the boys played a lot of basketball while we were at Sunset Bay.  Our first stop in Oregon ended up being one of our favourite state parks, one we would definitely come back to!

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Karen MacKinnon on

I love the state parks in Oregon.

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